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Paul Pogba’s Man United future in doubt as Barcelona put plans in place to scout midfielder EVERY game

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Barcelona plan to watch Paul Pogba in EVERY game for the rest of this season as they begin their full scale assault to sign the Manchester United midfielder next summer.

Barcelona’s hierarchy – general manager Pep Segura and technical directors Eric Abidal and Ramon Planes – are keeping close tabs on the situation ahead of making a £100m-plus move.

The Spanish giants had spies watching him in the Champions League in midweek and plan to do the same for the rest of the campaign.

Barcelona believe Pogba is keen to move to Spain next summer having failed with an attempt to get him in the last window.

Pogba opened the scoring against Young Boys in midweek (Image: EMPICS Sport)
Pogba celebrates his strike (Image: REUTERS)

France World Cup winner Pogba has become Barcelona’s primary target next summer and the Catalan club have now begun the operation to get their man.

Pogba has endured a difficult season at Manchester United with his relationship with Jose Mourinho under the spotlight but Mirror Sport reported earlier this month that a truce has been called until the end of the season.

However, he is already on course for a personal best goals tally for a season.

He had nine and six in his first two seasons back at Old Trafford following an £89m move from Juventus, where he twice managed 10 in a campaign.

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But after his double against Bern took his total to four in the first six games of the season – three of them penalties – the 25-year-old wants more.

He said: “I am happy that the goals I scored were decisive in the win. If I can do it, I will try to help the team as much as possible. If I can score a goal or make an assist, that will be great.”

 

 

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Oyo: Sports Minister, Sunday Dare donates relief materials to Akesan fire victims

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Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare on Thursday said that the priority of all tiers of government should be to ensure that victims of the Akesan Market fire get the needed assistance to enable them get back on their feet.

He stated this in Oyo Town when he visited the Palace of Alaafin Oyo to present relief materials to victims of the fire. He said he was in the ancient town to also commiserate with the people on the fire disaster that razed Akesan market in the early hours of last Sunday.

“I have written and spoken with Minister of Disaster Management and Humanitarian Affairs, who is on lesser Hajj. She has assured that NEMA (National Emergency Management Agency) will intervene.
“I am confident that the minister will do the needful when she visits Oyo next week,” the Minister disclosed.

“I had promised to work with all the relevant stakeholders to bring succor to those affected by the fire. Earlier today I was in Ibadan, where I engaged Governor Seyi Makinde on this matter. I will continue to engage with relevant stakeholders to see what intervention can be made to bring relief to victims of the fire.
“The priority is to ensure that victims of the fire get the needed assistance to help them get back on their feet,” the Minister added.

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Mr. Dare, who hails from Oyo State, later presented the relief materials to the Alaafin of Oyo.

The Minister also visited the burnt market where he encouraged victims of the fire not to lose hope while charging that they have the potential to rise up stronger from what had befallen them.

 

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Liverpool Wins Club World Cup

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Roberto Firmino was again the hero for Liverpool as the forward’s extra-time goal allowed Jurgen Klopp’s side to beat Flamengo 1-0 in the Club World Cup final in Doha on Saturday and lift the trophy for the first time.

Firmino was picked out by Sadio Mane and waited for goalkeeper Diego Alves to commit before slotting low into the net in the 99th minute of an absorbing contest at the Khalifa International Stadium.It was the moment that finally punctured the hopes of the Brazilian side and their vibrant support, after Liverpool had been denied a penalty by VAR at the end of normal time.The Qatari referee initially gave a spot-kick for a foul on Mane by Rafinha on the way into the box, but changed his mind following a lengthy review, forcing the contest into an extra 30 minutes.Still, the European champions had enough to come out on top, with Firmino repeating his semi-final heroics, when he scored an injury-time goal to secure victory against Monterrey of Mexico.The win allows Liverpool to complete a fabulous year with a third piece of silverware to go with the Champions League and UEFA Supercup.Having earned the title of world champions, if Klopp’s team can see out their huge lead at the top of the Premier League this season, they will have a case to be remembered as the finest side in the illustrious history of the club.Flamengo had been hoping to repeat their win over Liverpool in the old Intercontinental Cup back in 1981 and thereby become the first non-European winners of the Club World Cup since fellow Brazilians Corinthians beat Chelsea in 2012.They fell short, but they certainly gave the Premier League leaders a game in what was their last outing of a long season.

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– Van Dijk back, Firmino hits post –

Klopp had welcomed back Virgil van Dijk after the inspirational Dutchman sat out Wednesday’s semi-final due to illness.That allowed skipper Jordan Henderson to return to his usual midfield berth, while Firmino, Mane and Trent Alexander-Arnold were all recalled after starting on the bench against the Mexicans.Firmino, Naby Keita and Alexander-Arnold all came close for Liverpool in the first six minutes as they came flying out of the traps.Fielding the same team that started their semi-final win over Al Hilal, the Brazilian and South American champions gradually settled into the game, spurred on by their raucous travelling support.Bruno Henrique, the star of their semi-final victory, had their best opportunity in the first half, coming inside from the left to meet a long ball forward by goalkeeper Alves before seeing his shot deflected past.The Rio giants, with veteran Portuguese coach Jorge Jesus on the touchline, matched the European champions for much of the first half but were lucky not to fall behind at the beginning of the second period.Less than two minutes after the restart, Firmino controlled Henderson’s ball forward and sent a shot off the inside of the post before seeing it rebound away.However, Liverpool also needed goalkeeper Alisson to come to the rescue with a fine stop from a Gabriel Barbosa strike, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain then went off injured as extra time began to loom.Then Alves stretched high to his left to tip a net-bound Henderson shot from 25 yards over the bar before, with the match in injury time, the English side thought they had a penalty for Rafinha’s tackle on Mane.However, referee Abdulrahman Al Jassim dramatically cancelled the decision after coming across to review the footage on a pitchside monitor.Liverpool finally found a way through nine minutes into the first half of extra time though, with Mane finding Firmino after being pushed wide of goal by Rafinha.Firmino made no mistake, and Flamengo were unable to respond.AFP

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2019 Ballon D’Or Winners {See Full List}

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The winners and other top finishers in the four trophies awarded at the 2019 Ballon d’Or ceremony on Monday in Paris are:

Men’s Ballon d’Or

  1. Lionel Messi (ARG/Barcelona)
  2. Virgil van Dijk (NED/Liverpool)
  3. Cristiano Ronaldo (POR/Juventus)
  4. Sadio Mane (SEN/Liverpool)
  5. Mohamed Salah (EGY/Liverpool)
  6. Kylian Mbappe (FRA/PSG)
  7. Alisson Becker (BRA/Liverpool)
  8. Robert Lewandowski (POL/Bayern Munich)
  9. Bernardo Silva (POR/Manchester City)
  10. Riyad Mahrez (ALG/Manchester City)

Women’s Ballon d’Or

  1. Megan Rapinoe (USA/Reign FC)
  2. Lucy Bronze (ENG/Lyon)
  3. Alex Morgan (USA/Orlando Pride)
  4. Ada Hegerberg (NOR/Lyon)
  5. Viviane Miedema (NED/Arsenal)
  6. Wendie Renard (FRA/Lyon)
  7. Sam Kerr (AUS/Chicago Red Stars)
  8. Rose Lavelle (USA/Washington Spirit)
  9. Ellen White (ENG/Manchester City)
  10. Dzsenifer Marozsan (GER/Lyon)

Kopa Trophy

(Best player under 21 on December 31)

  1. Matthijs de Ligt (NED/Ajax Amsterdam then Juventus)
  2. Jadon Sancho (ENG/Borussia Dortmund)
  3. Joao Felix (POR/Benfica then Atletico Madrid)

Yashin Trophy

(Best goalkeeper, presented for the first time)

  1. Alisson Becker (BRA/Liverpool)
  2. Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GER/FC Barcelona)
  3. Ederson (BRA/Manchester City)

AFP

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